Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale, featuring the faces of both current President Jair Bolsonaro, left, and former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil
Presidential election campaign flags hang for sale outside the Supreme Electoral Court in Brasilia, Brazil. | Photo: © picture alliance/AP | Eraldo Peres

Democracy on the Razor’s Edge: The 2022 Presidential Elections in Brazil

Brazil’s presidential elections are scheduled to take place on October 2, 2022. The confrontation between the extreme-right incumbent president Bolsonaro and the center-left former president Lula Da Silva provides a rare setting. The election places Brazil at a crossroads and will set the stage for either a comprehensive commitment to democracy under Lula or a continuation along the path to authoritarianism under Bolsonaro. Recent polls suggest that the most likely scenario is a win for Lula. Nevertheless, Brazil’s democratic institutions are continuously under attack. Currently, the possibility of the elections being preemptively cancelled or the final results being contested cannot be fully dismissed.


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro doing the "gun gesture" in 2019. | Photo: flickr, Palácio do Planalto | CC BY 2.0

Bolsonaro gunning at Brazilian democracy

In Brazil, September 7th is Independence Day, traditionally celebrated with civil and military parades in the capital Brazilia and many other cities. What was intended to foster national pride and unity threatens to damage that very unity this year, as President Bolsonaro wants to turn the events into a show of strength signalling his will to win in the 2022 elections by a coup d’état if necessary.